Community & Wellbeing Officer, Steph Hayle, announced on Facebook last Friday the launch of a new virtual Student Mental Health Hub. This would be an online resource to help coordinate information on mental health issues and signpost towards support and service provision to make it easier for students to find help with welfare and mental health issues.
This project is being worked on by YUSU with the GSA and the NHS. This week a member of staff was hired to manage this project and enact it alongside Hayle. This is a key part of a wider Student Mental Health Strategy from the Student Union to improve mental health services on campus, which have long been viewed as inadequate by many students. Currently the YUSU page for mental health support simply signposts students towards colleges, Open Door, Nightline and off-campus organisations including The Samaritans and York Minds.
Hayle said on the Facebook post announcing the hub : “This is a huge win for students, and will mean supervisors, college teams, and even your friends won’t just send you to Open Door, but instead to a streamlined service enabling you to access the best support for your specific needs. Hopefully it will stop people being sent around in loops when looking for help (something which we are continuously told is a massive problem.)”
Mental health provisions at York have been widely criticised with it being a major talking point at last years YUSU elections. Open Door, in particular, have been criticised for their waiting times. This has also been part of a wider discussion about the poor mental health of university students across the UK.
Hayle commented to Nouse: “It’s fantastic to see the University finally taking such important steps in managing the mental health problems many of our students face. Having a centralised port of call for students to be signposted to has been something YUSU has been lobbying for a long time, and I am thrilled this is now happening. I will be working with the newly appointed staff to ensure student feedback and interest is at the heart of the projects development, and I hope this new service will put an end to people being sent round in circles and signposted to the wrong places.”
There will be more announcements as the project develops and there will be opportunities to get involved with sessions being run with students to gain feedback on the resource.